I love popcorn popped in bacon fat. I love almost every fruit (except kiwi) and vegetable (including kale) I've ever eaten. And since I was little, I've loved diving head first into every story I hear, searching for what works, what doesn't, and why. (Which made a lot of otherwise boring stories way more tolerable.)

Story has always affected me in a big way. I wouldn't be who I am if I hadn't read A Wrinkle in Time when I was nine. Or, sadly, watched way, way too much TV as a teenager. Remember That Girl and Love, American Style?  I hope not.

Even the ads I watched as a kid had an impact on me. No, I wouldn't buy the product (even then I was a rotten consumer); what I bought was the "reality" that those old ads portrayed. Everyone's house is spotless. Happy people don't fight. Every problem has a neat, easy solution. 

It was the world of advertising that helped me really begin to understand the power of story. I remember being stunned to discover how many deep-seated ideas, attitudes and beliefs I held that I'd never actually thought about. Beliefs that, when I did think about them, I didn't believe at all, not even a little bit. In fact, they were often the exact opposite of what I knew to be true. (Happy people do fight — all the time -- and guess what? it's okay!) An effective story, it turns out, enters through your gut, looks out through your eyes, and is never really analyzed by your conscious brain. That's the hardwired power of story. 

Understanding that power allows you to both wield it, and, as important, to gird yourself against it if need be. Otherwise, like me, you might end up at McDonalds at midnight scarfing down a Big Mac, super sized fries and a 32 oz Coke because you deserve a break today! (Hey, it only happened the once.)

To keep me from falling prey to the straight and narrow, my mottos (not that I always live up to them) are:

  • Love the suck
  • If it’s not a least a little scary, you’re not doing it right
  • The only wrong choice is not choosing
  • Don’t just sit there! (as true literally as it is figuratively, more’s the pity)
  • Everything is easier said than done. Except getting in trouble. Which is actually easier.
  • Trouble is my middle name (sorry, couldn’t resist)

That's my story. What's yours?